Apple TV downloading is a sluggish affair

I set up my first Apple TV over the past weekend and learned about a great free resource for business news, included on the device. I also learned that everything Apple makes is faster at downloading content that you purchase.

The Apple TV, version 3 and the size of a hockey puck, arrived on the market this spring sporting a faster chip inside, HD enhancements plus a few new information resources. One pleasant surprise to me was Wall Street Journal video reports, streaming and free via the dead-simple channel changer interface off the Apple TV home page.

Streaming content, whether it’s from YouTube, Netflix or WSJ, is the fastest way to get whatever you want to see onto your flatscreen TV. It’s especially worthwhile to do this if you’re in recreation mode, where the new 1080p HD is supported by version 3’s Apple TV. Netflix hums nicely and arrives in HD.

Painfully slower: viewing anything you’ve purchased via Apple’s iTunes store. It makes no sense, but you endure a wait of 20-30 minutes while a movie or TV show downloads — even if you’ve bought it and stored it on a Mac in your home. The reason why is that Apple’s shipping the TV with just 8 GB of flash memory. That’s right: The amount of memory that your camera maker wouldn’t dare ship you on an SD card in the box.

Your average TV show comes in at about 2-3 GB, and a movie is right around the same size. Not much elbow room there, and there’s no file storage controls on the TV. So Apple’s decided that your $99 Apple TV doesn’t need to know about more than one episode at a time. Forget that marathon where you and your sweetie hunker down on a weekend to watch all 9 Downton Abbey episodes. Unless you’ve got the half-hour in-between each one to spare. The cut-rate storage and control design is one reason why Apple’s still got to call the TV a hobby. Continue reading Apple TV downloading is a sluggish affair

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